Monday, 18 December 2017

December 18, 2017

375 years ago

Abel Tasman became the first European to land in New Zealand.

280 years ago

Died on this date
Antonio Stradivari, 93
. Italian musical instrument maker. Mr. Stradivari, after whom Stradivarius instruments are named, made over 1,000 instruments, including lutes, guitars, violins, violas, cellos, and harps. It's estimated that over half of the instruments that he made still exist.

240 years ago

The United States celebrated its first Thanksgiving, marking the recent victory by the American rebel forces over British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga in October.

230 years ago

New Jersey became the 3rd state to ratify the United States Constitution.

125 years ago

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker received its premiere performance at Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, on a double bill with his opera Iolanta.

100 years ago

Born on this date
Ossie Davis
. U.S. actor. Mr. Davis was known for portraying dignified characters in such movies as Gone are the Days! (1963); The Hill (1965); Do the Right Thing (1989); and Malcolm X (1992). Gone are the Days! was based on Mr. Davis's play Purlie Victorious (1961). He was one of the first Negroes to direct movies in Hollywood, with his efforts including Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970) and Gordon's War (1973). Mr. Davis was a well-known civil rights activist, acting as master of ceremonies for Martin Luther King's March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, and delivering the eulogy at the funeral of Malcolm X in 1965. In his later years, Mr. Davis co-hosted the annual National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C. He died on February 4, 2005 at the age of 87.

The Cheka, the first Soviet secret police force, was founded by the Sovnarkom (Council of People's Commissars).

The resolution containing the language of the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to enact Prohibition was passed by the United States Congress.

90 years ago

Politics and government
In Moscow, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union expelled Messrs. Kameneff, Radek, Piatakof, Rakovsky, Smilga, Smirnoff, Yevdokimoff, Sapronoff, Lashevich, and Muraloff.

75 years ago

The British 8th Army in Tunisia took Nofilia, pursuing fleeing Axis forces toward Sultan, 45 miles west of Nofilia. Some Axis forces broke the British trap at Wadei Matratin and joined the main retreat westward. Allied forces captured Cape Endaiadere, east of Buna Village, New Guinea. Chinese forces recaptured the Yangtze River port of Hoshueh in Hupeh Province.

Politics and government
Australian Attorney General Herbert Evatt announced the revocation of the ban on the Communist Party and its press after the Communist central committee agreed to assist in the war effort.

Economics and finance
Caribbean Commission Chairmen Sir Frank Stockdale and Charles Taussig agreed on a tentative formula for the economic rehabilitation of the British West Indies over the next two years.

The U.S. Office of Price Administration suspended the sale of gasoline to holders of "A," "B," and "C" books in 17 eastern states except for emergency use.

An Associated Press poll of U.S. sportswriters named the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals as the best team of 1942; University of Georgia football player Frank Sinkwich as the outstanding male athlete; and swimmer Gloria Callen as the outstanding female athlete.

Beau Jack (50-6-2) won New York State Athletic Commission and New Jersey recognition as world lightweight champion with a knockout of Tippy Larkin (86-8) at 1:19 of the 3rd round before 18,817 fans at Madison Square Garden in New York.

70 years ago

The U.S. National Board of Motion Pictures named Monsieur Verdoux as the year's best picture.

Economics and finance
The Netherlands agreed to build 30 ships for Argentina over a five-year period in exchange for food and raw materials.

The U.S. Senate passed a compromise anti-inflation bill which extended export and transportation controls for one year; authorized President Harry Truman to introduce food conservation programs; and permitted voluntary agreements in industry and agriculture concerning allocation of scarce raw materials.

U.S. President Truman named a 12-man National Labor-Management Panel, as required by the Taft-Hartley Act.

Former world lightweight champion Tippy Larkin (115-11-1) scored a technical knockout of Ernie Petrone (31-41-10) in the 5th round of a middleweight bout at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts.

60 years ago

At the movies
The Monolith Monsters, starring Grant Williams, Lola Albright, and Les Tremayne, opened in theatres in Los Angeles. It's my favourite giant monster movie of the 1950s.

Died on this date
Jere Cooper, 64
. U.S. politician. Mr. Cooper, a Democrat represented Tennessee's 9th District (1929-1933, 1943-1953) and 8th District in the U.S. House of Representatives (1933-1943, 1953-1957). He was Chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means from 1955 until his death.

Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first civilian nuclear facility to generate electricity in the United States, went online, supplying electricity for commercial use to customers in the Pittsburgh area.

Stanford University physicists conducting research with a linear accelerator reported that neutrons aligned side by side would measure 10 trillion to the inch.

50 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Spain (PROMUSICAE): En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor (Aranjuez, Mon Amour)--Richard Anthony (3rd week at #1)

Politics and government
The day after deposing President Christophe Soglo, the 15-man military junta that had seized power in Dahomey set up a provisional government with Major Maurice Kouandete as President, and announced that elections would take place withing six months.

A tornado struck northern Alabama, killing 4 people and injuring 29.

4 men were burned to death and 30 injured at a steel mill in Houston, Texas when 60,000 pounds of molten metal fell on them.

Joe Frazier (19-0) scored a technical knockout of Marion Conner (25-10-1) at 1:40 of the 3rd round of their heavyweight bout at Boston Garden.

40 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in New Zealand: Float On--The Floaters (6th week at #1)

Died on this date
Cyril Ritchard, 79
. Australian-born actor. Mr. Ritchard, born Cyril Trimnell-Ritchard, had a career spanning almost 60 years, and was best known for playing Captain Hook in the Broadway musical Peter Pan (1954), winning a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical. His films included Blackmail (1929).

Michio Nishizawa, 56. Japanese baseball player and manager. Mr. Nishizawa was a pitcher and first baseman who played with the club eventually known as the Chunichi Dragons from 1937-1943 and 1946-1958, compiling a pitching record of 60-65 with a 2.23 earned run average in 231 games, and batting .286 with 212 home runs and 940 runs batted in in 1,704 games. He pitched a no-hitter in 1942; set a Japan Central League single-season record in 1950 with 46 home runs; won the batting title (.353) and led the league in runs batted in (98) in 1952; and led the league in slugging in 1953 (.545). Mr. Nishizawa managed the Dragons from 1964-1967, compiling a record of 253-218 (.537). He was inducted into the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.

Achilleas Kyprianou, son of Cypriot President Spyros Kyprianou, was released unharmed four days after being kidnapped by members of the right-wing group EOKA-B. Achilleas, a second lieutenant in the Cypriot National Guard, was seized at the gate of a military camp in the Troodas Mountains. EOKA-B, which wanted political union with Greece, demanded the release of 25 imprisoned members in exchange for Achilleas' life. President Kyprianou refused to release the prisoners, but promised that no action would be taken against the kidnappers if his son were released.

30 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in West Germany (Media Control): Whenever You Need Somebody--Rick Astley (3rd week at #1)

At the movies
Leonard Part 6, produced by and starring Bill Cosby, opened in theatres. It was considered one of the worst movies of the year, and Mr. Cosby himself denounced and disowned it. This blogger, like most people, has never seen it.

This blogger finished the second of three terms at the University of Western Ontario's School of Library and Information Science.

Ivan Boesky was sentenced to three years in prison for plotting Wall Street's biggest insider-trading scandal.

25 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Germany (Media Control): More and More--Captain Hollywood Project

At the movies
Toys, directed, co-written, and co-produced by Barry Levinson and starring Robin Williams, opened in theatres.

Leap of Faith, starring Steve Martin and Debra Winger, opened in theatres.

Died on this date
John F. Melby, 79
. U.S.-born diplomat and scholar. Dr. Melby was a U.S. State Department employee from 1937-1953, serving in the U.S.S.R. from 1943-1945 and in China from 1945-1948. He was stripped of his security clearance in 1953 because of his long and intimate association with playwright Lillian Hellman, who was accused of ties to the Communist Party. Dr. Melby had difficulty finding work thereafter until he founded the political studies department of the University of Guelph in 1966, serving as department chairman for five years and then as a professor until his retirement in 1978. He died of a heart attack in Guelph, Ontario.

Mark Goodson, 77. U.S. television producer. Mr. Goodson, with his partner Bill Todman, produced such game shows as Beat the Clock; Match Game; The Price is Right; Family Feud; Password; I've Got a Secret; To Tell the Truth; and What's My Line?.

Canadian Fisheries Minister John Crosbie announced cuts in groundfish quotas of up to 70%, saying that there were "too many plants, too many boats, too many people chasing fish."

410 people were evacuated from their homes in Oakville, Manitoba after a chemical spill.

National Sea Products announced that it would close its plants in North Sydney and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

20 years ago

Hit parade
#1 single in Denmark (Nielsen Music Control & IFPI): Candle in the Wind 1997/Something About the Way You Look Tonight--Elton John (14th week at #1)

#1 single in Finland (Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland): Pop-Musiikkia--Neljä Baritonia

Died on this date
Chris Farley, 33
. U.S. comedian and actor. Mr. Farley performed with Chicago's Second City Theatre before becoming part of the cast of Saturday Night Live from 1990-1995. He co-starred in the movies Tommy Boy (1995) and Black Sheep (1996) before a well-publicized lifestyle of drink and drugs, exacerbated by obesity, caught up with him, and he died of a drug overdose.

Politics and government
U.K. Scottish Secretary Donald Dewar unveiled a bill giving Scotland its own parliament.

10 years ago

Died on this date
Gerald Le Dain, 83
. Canadian jurist. Justice Le Dain was a Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada from 1984-1988, but was perhaps best known as the chairman of the Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs from 1969-1973. The Commission recommended that cannabis be removed from the narcotic control act and be regulated provincially.

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